In the past, I’ve talked quite a bit about the pressures we all put on ourselves by comparing our lives to those around us, which usually only ever ends up making you feel frustrated. Previously I’ve referred to my own situation of where I am in life, rather than the many other comparisons that we live with daily. However, on a recent holiday with some of my best friends, it reminded me that making comparisons affect us in so many different ways. Stripping down to swimwear on a holiday certainly puts your own body hang ups out there with nowhere to hide, which makes most of us compare what we have/don’t have with others!
Don’t get me wrong, we are the best of friends and have been for years, so thankfully these types of comparisons only exist in a very mild way for me, but I do remember a time when that wasn’t the case. As a child, I longed for skin that would tan easily, and on many occasion ignored the fact that my very pale skin was never going to be like some of my friend’s, instead, most summers I still hoped that if I didn’t plaster myself with suntan cream I would eventually get a tan! It seems crazy to think that even back then before the days of social media that this kind of pressure could be put on a child, just because of what society tells us is ‘normal’. These days I have learned to embrace my pale skin, along with the hundreds of freckles that I have, after all, who says what tells us what is normal and what isn’t! There was a time in our history that having a tan was frowned upon, with ‘upper classes’ being shaded from the sun at all costs. So why is it, that today we seem to be a culture of ‘tanners’, surely at this time of year we need more focus on protecting our skin, but also loving whatever type you have, rather than trying to conform.
After freezing my eggs I started following a lot of female bloggers, some of which talk about the pressure to lose weight after they gave birth. Although I have no first-hand experience of this it does resonate with me because yet again it speaks volumes about the pressure society is putting on women regarding their appearance, rather than embracing that special period in their lives. I honestly think we should spend more time concentrating on how we can ensure that our bodies(and our minds) are fit and healthy, rather than comparing everything we have to others.
I recently read an article which spoke about the increasing amount of plastic surgery amongst young people being linked to social media, with Instagram being the site that seem to get the most negative focus. As a lover of Instagram, I find this really sad. If there is any truth in this link it seems the obsession over selfies/filters etc seems to have added to the pressure of body image amongst the young. Thankfully I didn’t experience this growing up, but it seems that it’s something that is affecting young people more and more.
I hope that children grow up to understand that our unique qualities, whether that’s the path we chose or the way we look are what makes us individuals and we should learn to celebrate, rather than hide away from them and certainly not try and be like everyone else.